Differences and Benefits of a Salary or Dividends

The decision to take a salary or dividends in a business can have significant financial and tax implications, and it often depends on various factors, including the business’s legal structure, the individual financial situation of the owner(s), and the business’s profitability. 

Here’s an overview of the key differences and benefits of taking a salary or dividends:


  1. Regular Income: When you take a salary, you receive a fixed and regular income from the business, usually monthly or bi-weekly. A paycheck can provide financial stability and predictability.
  2. Tax Deductibility: In most jurisdictions, salaries are a deductible business expense, which can reduce the business’s taxable income and lower the overall tax liability for the company.
  3. Social Benefits: Salary income contributes to social benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and pension plans. This can provide retirement security and access to government-sponsored benefits.
  4. Creditworthiness: A consistent salary income may help you qualify for personal loans, mortgages, and other forms of credit, as lenders typically consider it more stable than dividend income.



  1. Profit Distribution: Dividends are paid from a company’s profits to its shareholders. They are a way to share the business’s success with its owners.
  2. Tax Treatment: Dividends may have a different tax treatment compared to salaries. In many jurisdictions, they are subject to dividend tax rates, which can be lower or higher than income tax rates, depending on the country and the shareholder’s income level.
  3. Flexibility: Dividends offer more flexibility regarding when and how much you take. You can reinvest them in the business or other investments, allowing for more significant wealth accumulation.
  4. Ownership Rewards: Taking dividends can be seen as a reward for being a shareholder and investing in the business. It allows you to participate in the company’s success without actively working in the industry.


Benefits of Each Approach:

Salary Benefits:

  • Provides a stable income stream.
  • Supports social benefits and retirement planning.
  • Demonstrates a regular income for personal finance purposes.
  • Reduces the business’s taxable income.


Dividend Benefits:

  • Offers tax efficiency in some cases.
  • Provides flexibility in managing personal finances and investments.
  • Rewards shareholders for their ownership in the business.
  • Allows for potential tax deferral through capital gains.



  • Taxation: The tax implications of taking a salary or dividends can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction and individual circumstances. Consult with a tax advisor to determine the most tax-efficient strategy.
  • Legal Structure: The legal structure of the business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) can influence the options available for compensation.
  • Financial Needs: Consider your personal financial goals, lifestyle, and needs when deciding between salary and dividends.
  • Regulations: Ensure you comply with relevant tax laws, corporate regulations, and shareholder agreements when making this decision.


Ultimately, the choice between salary and dividends should be made carefully, considering both short-term financial needs and long-term financial planning. 

It’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to determine the most suitable approach for your specific situation.

A.M.I. CPA Professional Corporation is a full-service accounting firm based in Oakville, Ontario, offering a broad range of accounting services to meet the needs of businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals in Oakville and the GTA.